I have this fantasy…
I usually indulge in this fantasy in the quiet, cool, early-morning moments. I have actually enjoyed brief periods of life where some form of this fantasy was actually my reality, so I can safely say that this is not one of those “sounds great until you have it” kind of things.
I fantasize about having a little–oh for lack of a better word (and at the risk of sounding a bit crazy cult-ish)–compound. This compound is located in that perfect place where all the joys and wonders of the city are minutes away, and yet the noise and smells of the city are conveniently blocked out with a surrounding swath of semi-wild, semi-cultivated land. There are tall trees and flower beds and vegetable gardens, and most importantly there is comfortable outdoor seating. The kind of verandah that one would breakfast upon regularly. It is probably semi-shaded by one of those open-beamed slanted roof thingies that you grow papa-vines on. The perfect thing from which to hang quiant little garden lights.
Oh hell this needs some visual aid. Here you go…kinda like this:
So, yeah. Like that.
Bear with me, this is just setting the scene. It’s relevant but not the actual fantasy part. Technically the compound (Yeah I hate that word.) could look like just about anything.
Moving right along.
So this colony. Colony? Eh…better than compound. Maybe…estate. THERE we go. OK. So this…estate.
This estate has several private residences on the grounds. All sort of separated from each other, for privacy, but within a 30 second to 1 minute walk of each other.
Think more “hobbit village” and less “weird secret hippy compound from Lost.”
The most important aspect of this fantasy estate, is the people that live in the individual residences.
This is where it get’s a little “utopian artist commune,” which I get it, is not for everyone, but as my sweet man loves to point out, I am, as far as the majority of the world can tell, a hippy. (I have a personal theory on there actually being a “hippy scale” upon which I fall only slightly on the side of “More Hippy” than the center. But that is another post.)
As I was saying, the people in this estate are my closest and dearest friends. They know who they are so I won’t bother to name them, and it wouldn’t mean much to those of you who don’t know them. But these are the people that I can talk to for hours about real things. These are people that I rarely (or never) resort to small talk with. These are the few people in the world that I actually physically and emotionally miss when too much time has passed between our visits.
We all have mostly similar viewpoints about the things that matter most, and yet we are as different in every other way as a group of people can possibly get. We don’t look alike. We don’t have similar career paths or similar relationships. We come from the widest variety of family and ethnic backgrounds you can imagine.
To be honest, I am deeply grateful (and a little proud) of this incredibly unique group of people that I consider my inner circle. And most of them have never even met each other.
In my fantasy, in this idyllic estate, we share tea on each other’s verandahs. Or maybe in a breakfast room when the weather is not cooperative. There is always light streaming in from all around–from open air or from giant windows. The seats are big enough to allow us all to curl up comfortably as we warm our hands and greet the day. We start each morning with simple silent smiles and contemplative shared thoughts. We always have someone close at hand that can loan us the proverbial cup of sugar. We can look out our kitchen windows and see each other’s kids playing hide and seek in the tomato patch, or the older ones studying their Algebra on a plush expanse of lawn.
Meals are typically shared between two or more families, often taken outdoors and typically lasting well into the late evening. The children fall asleep curled up together under the table or on an arbitrary lap or in a nearby porch swing. There is wine. The good stuff. And laughter. The great stuff. And Love. The best of stuff.
There is music (a common denominator between most of my friends) and art. There are makers and crafters and we all decorate for every holiday like a Martha Stewart magazine. There are poets and dancers and philosophers.
Our occupations are all such that there is no need for daily grinds. We draw no distinction between play and work. We don’t have to. Money is abundant and rarely thought of.
There is water nearby; perhaps a medium sized brook or a small river. We can hear it from all points on the estate, softly falling over rocks and roots. We can smell it’s green-gold watery smell and it flavors the hours of our lives like so much salt.
It all sounds so great, doesn’t it? I imagine this is the very definition of perfection or heaven for quite a few people out there. I’m not so very unique in my fantasy. Yours might have an Asian garden or an English rose garden. Yours might be a walk up apartment building in New York City or a back woods country town with dirt roads and big deep Victorian porches. But the concept of living in close proximity to all the people you hold most dear, whether that is family or friends, is the important part of the utopia.
The weird part about this fantasy, is that for all my talk about this perfect community of near-constant interaction with other people, I am, basically, a hermit. Oh I can mix and mingle and network with the best of them, but it takes a lot out of me. It is one facet of the real me, but one of the more energetically draining facets of me. But for the most part, I need about a week to fully recover from a night of socializing.
So what’s different about this scenario that I have created as my ideal?
It’s the people I have chosen to populate my little world. They are not strangers. They are not even simply acquaintances. They are people that I feel a true soul connection with. These people are individuals with whom I am damn near certain I have shared a previous lifetime with. You know, if you go in for that kind of thing. There is no good explanation for my simpatico with these folks, it just is. And they are all people who their very presence fills me with life and energy.
And I do the same for them. At least that is what I am told.
So maybe I am not really a hermit, exactly. Maybe I’m just that kind of person that needs to choose her friends wisely. Although I would argue we are all that kind of person, deep down.